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Links between methanotroph community composition and CH(4) oxidation in a pine forest soil

  • Per Bengtson
  • Nathan Basiliko
  • Marc G Dumont
  • Melissa Hills
  • J Colin Murrell
  • Real Roy
  • Sue J Grayston
Publishing year: 2009
Language: English
Pages: 356-366
Publication/Series: FEMS microbiology ecology
Volume: 70
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

The main gap in our knowledge about what determines the rate of CH(4) oxidation in forest soils is the biology of the microorganisms involved, the identity of which remains unclear. In this study, we used stable-isotope probing (SIP) following (13)CH(4) incorporation into phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) and DNA/RNA, and sequencing of methane mono-oxygenase (pmoA) genes, to identify the influence of variation in community composition on CH(4) oxidation rates. The rates of (13)C incorporation into PLFAs differed between horizons, with low (13)C incorporation in the organic soil and relatively high (13)C incorporation into the two mineral horizons. The microbial community composition of the methanotrophs incorporating the (13)C label also differed between horizons, and statistical analyses suggested that the methanotroph community composition was a major cause of variation in CH(4) oxidation rates. Both PLFA and pmoA-based data indicated that CH(4) oxidizers in this soil belong to the uncultivated 'upland soil cluster alpha'. CH(4) oxidation potential exhibited the opposite pattern to (13)C incorporation, suggesting that CH(4) oxidation potential assays may correlate poorly with in situ oxidation rates. The DNA/RNA-SIP assay was not successful, most likely due to insufficient (13)C-incorporation into DNA/RNA. The limitations of the technique are briefly discussed.


  • Biological Sciences
  • methane-oxidizing bacteria
  • methanotroph
  • nucleic acid
  • stable-isotope probing
  • phospholipid fatty acid
  • methane mono-oxygenase


  • Microbial Ecology
  • ISSN: 1574-6941
Per Bengtson
E-mail: per [dot] bengtson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 37 60


Sölvegatan 37, Lund


Research group

Microbial Ecology


Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor


PhD students, assistant supervisor

Jian Li

Experimental setup